A high-ranking civilian intelligence official with Canada’s national police force accused of preparing to leak highly sensitive information faces three new charges, a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Tuesday.
The RCMP’s National Division Sensitive and International Investigations section has charged Cameron Ortis, with three additional counts of Unauthorized Communication of Special Operational Information, under Section 14 of the Security of Information Act, the national police force said in a communique Tuesday.
Ortis, a civilian director general of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre, was arrested on Sept. 12 and charged with preparing to share sensitive information with a foreign entity or terrorist organization. He’s also charged with sharing operational information back in 2015.
The Ontario Superior Court proceeded with a direct indictment on Tuesday, which in certain circumstances allows the attorney general’s office to send a case directly to trial without a preliminary inquiry. Ortis will return on Friday for a judicial pretrial.
Many of the details in the case are covered by a publication ban imposed during his bail hearing last fall.
In late October, Ortis was briefly released on bail and ordered to live with his parents in Abbotsford, British Columbia, before his bail was revoked in November. He’s been in custody ever since.
Access to top secret documents
By virtue of his position, Ortis had access to highly sensitive information gathered by the RCMP and shared with the federal police force by its domestic and foreign partners, RCMP officials have admitted.
According to documents viewed by CBC, the cache of classified intelligence material Ortis allegedly was preparing to share is so vital to Canada’s national security that the country’s intelligence agencies say its misuse would be “potentially devastating” for Canada’s security.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has called the allegations “extremely unsettling” and says RCMP officials are working with Canadian and international partners to assess and mitigate the possible damage.
With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press